Happy New Year!

You can make this year count.  You can be a world changer everyday this year.  Though “world changer” is a phrase that is often used, I believe that few live up to the phrase’s meaning.  Instead of creating a long list of resolutions, commit to making one small step each day to inspire, influence, and initiate change.  What if I told you that in 365 days, you will have played an active role in making the world around you more noble, loving, and life-giving?  Too ambitious?  I think not!

Photo Courtesy of Betina Daniel (c)

“Resolutions…” Photo Courtesy of Betina Daniel (c)

I have seen a rag-tag group of twenty-somethings, fresh out of college, lead university students all over Texas and Oklahoma to be world changers.  I have witnessed students make decisions to live for more than themselves, and make a lasting impact on those that are around them.  I have seen engineers in the marketplace live with bold integrity and faith.  It is my hope to share these stories with you and distill the lessons that I have learned.  I believe that these are the “5 Marks of a World Changer” this year: (they all conveniently start with the letter “L”… haha)

1.  Live intentionally.

Be obvious about who you are, what you believe, and why you exist.  There will never be another person like you.  Your life is valuable, and there are great exploits left to be done through you.  What would it look like if you woke up today with an intention to see something noble happen?  What if you inspired others to feel excitement and anticipation about living life today?  God designed you to be an agent of renewal.  God utilizes your unique life experiences to bring restoration to your coworkers, friends, family, and neighbors; however, you must be intentional.  Make every moment count this year.

2.  Lead passionately.

You have the capacity to lead and to influence others to make right choices.  People around you do not deeply connect to celebrity endorsements, flashy advertisements, or stellar organizations.  People truly connect with regular people that they know.  Therefore, be a person that exudes Godly passion while investing deeply into the people around you.  Do not be afraid to be transparent because integrity matters most to those around you.  This year, you can lead in word, action, and lifestyle.  Lead with nuanced passion – even in the face of opposition.  It is contagious.  It is a big deal.

3.  Love genuinely.

No, not superficial sugary love.  Love that commits to the regular people around you in the midst of victories and failures.  Love that allows you to let your guard down when the conversation gets “real” at work.  Love that allows you to say the important things and not just the cliché things in the midst of studying for a Physics final exam at 2AM.  Love that looks at a broken world of poverty, injustice, and indifference, but still believes.  You must believe in a love that protects, commits, and overcomes.  This love is important and desperately desired by many around you.  Show this love today.  It will not be easy, but it is necessary.

4.  Learn constantly.

The old adage still rings true this year, “readers lead, and leaders read…”  One reason that you may not be changing the world around you is because you are “out of touch” with the world around you.  Read the news online!  Find out what is happening around you.  I met a student that desired to be a world changer on his university campus, but he had no knowledge of what was transpiring on his campus.  We picked up the latest edition of the campus newspaper and read it together.  We were surprised to read all that was happening – both encouraging and frustrating!  He felt more connected to his campus and this newly acquired knowledge led to contagious, vibrant prayer meetings twice a week on campus!  Learn about your workplace, your neighbors, and the world.  The posture of a learner is inherently humble, and that is a great way to start this year.

5.  Leap adventurously.

This year has to be filled with calculated risks.  World changers are not characterized as passive, immobile people.  Quite the contrary!  World changers are active in mobilizing people around them.  Unfortunately, not everyone will understand  or approve of what you desire to see happen in the world.  Therefore, you will be put in places of dangerous dependence on God.  You may not find this comforting, but risk-taking is an everyday occurrence for world changers.  Sharing your faith is risky.  Standing up for sound business practices is risky.  Taking time out of your week to feed the homeless is risky.  Using your summer to visit an impoverished country is risky.  Asking neighbors to join your weekly Bible study is risky!  You are a risk-taker, because the risk is worth taking.  Start taking risks today, for it will lead to great rewards.

I am trying to live by these 5 Marks on a daily basis.  A few months ago, I leaped into action when I felt a loving nudge to share my faith with my local car mechanic.  Our conversation was awkward, yet encouraging and refreshing, and I also received $5 off my invoice!  Not every risk will end that way, but every risk begins with regular people in a regular situation engaged in regular conversation.  It’s up to you to be intentional.  Live, Lead, Love, Learn, and Leap starting today. Make this year COUNT!

What are other marks of a world changer? I’d love to hear what you want to add to this list.  Please share your experiences about a time that you took a risk.  Please comment below.